Starting again

It's hard to imagine going forward from here amid the roar of jet fighters overhead and the sirens in the streets. The mourning will go on for a long time. I am going to continue my personal thoughts on what is happening in my personal log. I am going to slowly start reading and logging IA news again. Hopefully soon. I must work. You can continue to donate to:

This has been a horrible, horrible time. There are no words for the lives lost.

ACIA interview with Peter Bogaards, Razorfish Amsterdam

ACIA talks with Peter Bogaards, who does the always fresh ID/IA blog, InfoDesign. Must be nice to work in Amsterdam -- I'd love to work there! thanks nbs

InformationWeek.com redesign

InformationWeek announced the redesign of their site.

In the Beginning was the Command Line, By Neal Stephenson

This book was found floating in the SIG-IA ether. Full text available on the Web. Can also download in compressed formats.

Staples.com: Yeah, it's usable

Article about Staples.com's committment to usability in PC Magazine. From the moment the online version of the $11 billion office supplies retailer was conceived, the company's senior management decided that committing financial and staff resources was necessary to make its site completely accessible and easy to use. Initially, Staples worked with two consultancies in the field to create, design, and test its site: Human Factors International and Sapient. But within six months of launching, Staples had assembled its own five-person usability staff led by Colin Hynes, an engineer who had been working on Internet visitor interface issues since 1992.

Site design as a business decision

An article in PC Magazine talks about how usability affects user interaction and business patronage. When someone is diagnosed with cancer, that person and all the people around her are desperate for information. They want the facts quickly—especially details about the specific cancer, the prognosis, the courses of treatment, the clinical research, and so on. The trauma they've just been handed is mind-boggling. It shouldn't be compounded by the frustration of a Web site that's supposed to help but is instead difficult to use. ... "Building sites around the way users work, whether that is looking for information on cancer research or buying a CD, as opposed to around a company or organization's view, is unfortunately not the norm," says Eric Schaffer, president of Human Factors International. Designing a site according to how people will use it may sound like a common-sense strategy, but it turns out to be extremely unusual—not only for a government agency but for all Web sites.

Enterprise Portal Server review

If you have access to Forrester, this report might be of interest. To improve the way employees use applications and data, firms must develop portals that simplify and unify countless user interfaces. Enterprise portal servers help companies build sites that all employees will use.

Microsoft Research at work on interface for Web services

Looking to adapt the GUI to the Internet and the forthcoming generation of Web services and distributed applications, Microsoft Research is at work on a more natural interface, said Kai-Fu Lee, of Microsoft's research team, here at Future Forum on Thursday. ... Lee, playing on the well-known acronym GUI, said he is trying to coin this next generation of interfaces the NUI (Natural User Interface), which he pronounced Nooeey, like GUI with an "n." The basic idea is to make computing devices more like a living, breathing personal assistant.

Follow Directions. Then Scream.

In the NYTimes, Matt Richtel surveys user's manuals through the ages.

Applying the Behavioral, Cognitive, and Social Sciences to products.

Don Norman on applying BCCS to products. Product design badly needs the knowledge learned in the BCCS, but in general, people with these skills are ill-suited for industry. The Academic training of the analytic scientist is simply completely orthogonal to the needs of the design practitioner. In this essay I explain the discrepancy and provide a draft curriculum to remedy the problem.

STC Usability Toolkit

The Usability Toolkit is a collection of forms, checklists and other useful documents for conducting usability tests and user interviews. This material is collected from SIG members and is distributed at the Annual Conference. The material may be used as is, or adapted for specific needs. Credit to the original contributors, when available (usually included in each file), is appreciated.

Setptember 8 -- Steve Krug to appear on Let's Talk Computers radio show

Let's Talk Computers interviews Steve Krug, author of "Don't Make Me Think". Listen to the show in Real Audio or Windows Media Player format.

Results of latest ACIA IAsk survey: Short and Long Term Outlook for Information Architects

The ACIA received 149 responses to this survey, which ran from September 2 through September 6, 2001. Here are the survey hilights given by ACIA: Short Term Ambivalence: While the need for information architects should continue to grow, 39% of respondents believe the demand will actually decrease in the short term. This is most likely an expression of concern with the health of the IT industry in general. Long Term Optimism: In the long term, the percentage of those who feel demand will decrease drops to 11%; 47% expect demand to increase a little, and 32% expect it to increase a lot. And long term need will explode: 26% see it growing a little, and 62% see it growing a lot. Personal Optimism (or Hubris?): We are more optimistic about our own chances for success in the field relative to our colleagues. In the short term, only 25% of respondents felt they'd fare worse than colleagues; that number drops to 12% in the long term. Natural biasing, or perhaps we're an incredibly confident bunch?

Factiva Teams-Up with TFPL on Information Architecture Study; "Taxonomy In Context" Study

Factiva announced that it will sponsor the "Taxonomy In Context" research project with information organization consultant and recruiter, TFPL. (Also available on ZDnet.) The research project will seek to identify how organisations are using taxonomies to construct their "Information Architecture". TFPL defines "Information Architecture" as a coherent set of strategies and plans for information access and delivery inside organisations. The research - based on case studies of organizations, and vendor questionnaires and interviews - will examine the balance between software and human intervention related to the application of taxonomies within content management systems, and whether customer needs are being met by vendor offerings.

Consumers Think Interactive TV Is Too Much Work

Newsbytes article about user sentiment of iTV use. Even in homes that have iTV capabilities, respondents said they rarely or never use interactive links in TV shows, TV-based Internet or e-mail. David Tice, SRI's director of client services and author of the report, said he was surprised both at the number of negative responses and the finding that the lack of interest in iTV was the same in households with access to interactive products as those with no iTV. Known as Qube, that project was the first experiment in both interactive TV and two-way cable communications, but it was eventually dismantled because there was little return on the costs of operating Qube's primitive interactive offerings.

Technology professionals want to telecommute - study

Telecomworldwire article about telecommuting. A new survey by the US-based recruitment web site techies.com has revealed that technology professionals want to telecommute at least part-time. The study showed that working from home is heavily dependent on profession while the level of experience is also a decisive factor - only 32% of entry level workers practised telecommuting at least a few hours each week compared to 67% of those with ten or more years of experience.

Using a mirror for usability testing

Hannahodge's brainbox pointed to Gary Perlman's low-cost tip for using a mirror to view user expressions while testing.

Marcia Bates abstracts

Lou Rosenfeld's Bloug points to an abstract of Marcia Bates' Berrypicking article (Bates, M.J. The design of browsing and berrypicking techniques for the online search interface. Online Review 13, 5 (1989) pp. 407-24.) as well as abstracts for Bates' other scholarly articles. For an interesting reverse-citation search of Bates' article, take a loot at Researchindex's citations listing.

IA: The State of the Profession

Andrew Dillon's IA column in the August/September 2001 ASIST Bulletin is available on the ASIST site now. There has been much discussion on the SIGIA list recently about the economy, specifically how the recent downturn has affected employment opportunities for IAs. Tales abound of layoffs, lack of new opportunities and the general paucity of vacancies with IA in the position title or job description.

Google 2.0

Upset over the way MS is handling mistaken or nonexistent URLs in IE, WebWord's John Rhodes proposes a Google web browser. People using Microsoft's Internet Explorer are now being redirected to Microsoft's MSN when they make certain kinds of mistakes. This means that Microsoft is taking control of another part of the user experience. This article discusses how Google might be able to help users and solve a few other problems others along the way.